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tv   [untitled]    November 27, 2012 2:30pm-3:00pm PST

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>> one of the things we're going to have in that building is going to be this media wall in the lobby. and that media wall has several things that it can show people, but one of the things it can show our employees and our visitors is how much energy, how much water, what we're using in the building. >> the wall is based on building data. we have total energy use per floor. we also have energy use in the building today that will show information and percentages on how much is being used today versus an average day. there's also information from solar, how much solar the building is producing, and showing the savings from solar. we also have reclaimed water and that will be shown per month. the center section is dedicated to water, wastewater and power. we have live information showing us how much wastewater has been treated so far from
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the night before. there is also a twitter feed and information that anyone that comes in can see, you know, current news and information from the twitter. there's also bart information, when is the next bart leaving, when is the next train departing. and there is weather, hetch hetchy, and weather at san francisco. >> the physical arts wall is comprised of 54 feet, 160 high-definition monitors that has a 3-d motion detection that allows you to approach the wall and then to look at the contents that is there in front of you, which is a beautiful artistic narrative. and then as you move towards it, it activates the content that comes up. >> this is one of the applications we developed with communications team at the puc and it's called, and it's about water cycle, how the water comes down from the snow in yosemite, into the mouth of the reservoir, gets treated, produces power, comes all the
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way down to the city and gets charged and leaves the bay. we developed a motion tracking system taw four cameras on the ceiling here which detects people when they approach the wall and presents information pop ups. so, you can enjoy it from a distance as a landscape, but once again up close there is another level of information that's educational about this facility. >> fire fly by artist ned con is an art installation which rises straight from the golden gate avenue sidewalk to the top of the building. >> the fire fly wall will be 5 by 5 polley carbon plates that will move with the wind and show a wave effect in the daytime. when those also swing back and forth and they hit the fulcrum, it will also set up an led light that will cover the fire fly.
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so, at nighttime people in another part of san francisco can see the side of our building and about 20 feet wide and 10 stories high will be a wall that will flickr on and off like fire flies at nighttime. it will be so energy efficient that if all those lights go on, it will be the equivalent of a 40 watt bulb. and also the new piece of artwork going all the way down the side of the building, which looks like this incredible wind ripples on a pond. and i thought, oh, my god, how incredible, how wonderful. >> inside the building we will have water walls in the main staircase, and the water will be dripping through the side of the wall. you'll be able to hear it, you'll be able to see it. we call the san francisco artists and galleries and said, hey, we want a building that is a place people want to come to work in and to visit. we're now going to be buying art from between 08 and 100 local artists in san francisco and the arts commission will be hanging in that art the next
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couple of months in the building. >> we'll have a cafe in the lobby. the cafe will be serving people there. they'll have a child care center on-site so people with children can come to work. if something happens to their child they can walk right downstairs. it has enough space for 65 kids. >> we looked at various ways that we could be creative in promoting alternative transportation. we did this by providing bike racks and showers in the building. we do see the number of parking spaces to two parking spaces and providing electrical charging stations for alternative vehicles. >> it's time for us to have a home that all of us can be proud of. >> and we couldn't do this without everybody working together on the one goal, which
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is, let's build something that reflects the honor of hetch hetchy, the honor of the greatest engineering feats, reflects what our puc does for our public, and for generations to come it will educate everybody. >> i'm really proud that one of the greenest and most sustainable buildings is here in norm in district 6. the wind turbine, the solar power, the living machines, recycled water that ed and the mayor has already spoken to. and what's also amazing about this building is it's not just internally, but you can actually see it on the outside. so, when people are walking around the city they can actually see the green and environmental aspects. >> what better way to show that the puc cares about the environment and the puc is going to show everyone else, you can do this, too. and you can do it in a way that makes sense, that's affordable, and that is better for the environment. >> and this is the most energy efficient government building in the united states today, if not the world. and it is an example that the
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entire united states can look to and say, that's what we need to do to save our city hundreds of millions of dollars in energy consumption a year and set an example to everybody of how to save energy, to be green, to be sustainable, to be responsible. the city is leading the way. >> it will be immediately recognizable and iconic from various parts of the city or even if you see a picture. that's the sfpuc building. it's a wonderful building. ♪ ♪
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>> pilaties. it's a creation, an old regimen of exercise. really based on core engagement and core structure and core development. we do a lot of exercise in developing that and think about lengthening of the spine and our muscles. if you're a runner, if you're into kayaking, martial arts, cycling pilates are for you.
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>> programs are variety year around at various locations and to learn more come to the richmond athletic cente >> hi, my name is pete shoemaker and well toll energy center. i'm standing in front of a model of a home. this is one of the tools we use here to assess solar energy. five years ago i was in a position similar to that of many of you. i was a homeowner thinking about solar electricity for my home. i had to answer a bunch of questions. one, does this stuff work? would it work on my home and most importantly, can i afford it? well, i did the research. i bought a system. now i get to share that knowledge and that experience with you. for the next 30 minutes, we'll have a class in solar basics and we'll go out in the field and see an actual solar system being installed. 30 minutes, solar basics, stay
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with me. >> let's talk about the technology, what is it and how does it work? there are three types of solar actually when you sauk about solar. i want to avoid the confusion to make sure we're focusing on the right one. two of them involve heating water and they're very viable technologies, can be very coast effective but we're not going to deal with them right now. one is solar pool heating. it pumps the water up there, heats it, runs it through there, the sun heats it and back into the pool. this one is called solar thermal or solar hot water. it heats domestic hot water or d.h.w. that's your hot water that you use four showers and dishwashers. we're going to talk about solar electric. they have the same technology as computer chips. they're similar in structure to that tran cystor-like computer
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chip technology based on silicon. the best thing about them is there are no moving parts and they last a long time. there are cells, modules, and arrays. a cell is one of these pieces here. it's a small unit wired together in a certain way to produce half a volt. these are hooked together in whatever size to be a module or a panel. those terms are sort of used interchanningbly. you hook as many as you need to for your array. it is very modular and adaptable technology. you can put it whatever size you want. there are two sort of competing or comparable technologies on the market. crystal lynn is the one that's been the longest. it's made from crystals. it is firm, hard like crystal. they're over 85% or 90% of the market now. they have the highest efficiencies. in other words, they'll capture more of the sunlight per square foot than the other technology. this can be significant
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especially in a city like san francisco when maybe you don't have a lot of roof space, but you want to get as much power as you can. this is probably the choice preferred for most homeowners. the second technology which is coming on strong is called thin film. that's really a whole different technology using a lot less material. it's like sprayed or painted on, a different way of producing electricity. this stuff has a lot of potential because it can be used in a lot of different ways. this is a thin film panel here, right here and one of the innovative ways you can use this thing is on thought metal seamed roofs. they have an add he'sive backing on and they can stick down on the roof without penetrating the roof. it's a very effective and cheap and safe installation process. thin film has a smaller, a lesser efficiency. half as efficient but it's about half the cost. so if you look at it, a small system 1.2 kilowatt systems, it produces 1.2 kill what's in
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full sun or 1,200 watts. in crystal lynn it could would take 500 panels. in thin film it would take this much space. they would produce the same and at current prices they cost close to the same. let's look at the typical system components here and i'll show you how they're laid out on the house in a minute. we know what the array is. they're hooked together. they're mounted to the roof by rails and mounts. they're hooked together with wires and switches and things like that we call that the balance of the system. it's a relatively minor component as far as price goes. so your array is mounted to the roof. it's wired to the inverter which is a simple device that changes d.c. current to a.c. current. that's all it does. it fits on the side of the house next to the meter typically and isn't very large. about this big, a foot square maybe. so that's they typically are warranted for 10 years. they're probably last 15 years.
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so on a cost analysis for the system typically run an inverter replacement at year 15. the inverter is wired to your loads. it uses electricity, appliances, whatever and it's also tied to your meter. the only real visual impact on the house is the panels. the other stuff is almost never seen. the thing about solar panels is they work during the day owl. so the big question is what about at night? well when isn't shining. in the past the only solution you had to that was batteries. you would have to purchase a large group of batteries and wire them to your system. during the day the sun would produce what your house needed and charge up the batteries and at nighttime you would draw off the batteries. what has made solar go from a niche market and explode to a big popular market has been a breakthrough called net metering.
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because the sunshines differently during different parts of the year it makes sense to go for a whole year before you settle accounts. so you get a statement every month, but you don't have to pay it unless you want to. your credits or debits roll over from month to month and at the end of the year you settle accounts. the key concept is magical in a sense. the utility grid is a two-way street. you can send electricity back up in the lines. because you can do this, in effect, the grid can take the place of your battery. it reduces all of the cost of maintenance of electricity and ensures electricity. if you're tied to the grid, the grid is always standing there ready to serve you during the day it's charging a lot of power. my kids are at school, my wife and i are at work. there is not much going on. it's feeding my refrigerator or whatever. so most of my power is excess and being sent back into the grid. my meter is spinning backwards and banking credits to my account. when i come home at night, then
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i'm buying back electricity from the utility, drawing off my "virtual battery" in a sense. think of it as an economic transaction. you sell back during the day and buy at night. and that's how it works. hi, i'm here with carl, he is the operations manager for solar city. we decided to take a little break from the cls room to so we could see some of the solar panels in action. carl, how are you? >> very well. nice to meet you. >> how do you like the weather? >> not too bad. >> kind of sunny. how does that impact our solar panels when we have lots of sun versus fog which we are typically accustomed to in san francisco? >> well, contrary to popular belief, solar panels will produce electricity when it's foggy out. how much depends on the density of the fog. on a day like today it's hazy
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for typical san francisco weather. on a day like talking, you can expect 80% of your what would be your full production on a clear sunny day. >> so if i were thinking about getting solar panels and i lived in san francisco and i was worried about haze versus full sun and how that will impact what jets yated, are there any tools or tricks that i can use to determine what the production is going to be like? >> the first thing you need to do is look at what available area do you have. typically most residential systems gone on rooftops. in urban areas like this, we don't have big yards. they will go on rooftops. you need to have good southern access to sun. things that can impact your solar access are buildings in your vicinity, big trees, things that will keep the sun from reaching the available area on your house. >> how can i test myself before i get experts out to determine whether solar panels are going to work for me? i know, for example, one of my neighbors has an additional
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story. so sometimes that, you know, it's a little shady over there for a variety of reasons, but are there things that i can do in advance of having the experts out? >> sure. if you have access to your roof, you can go up there with a compass and face south and kind of look to the east and the west and see what's going to -- what's going to cast shadows. if there say large obstruction like a neighbor's house or a large tree directly to the south, it gets a little more complicated trying to measure exactly what impact that will have on the area you're considering. you have to consider where your neighbor's house is relative to due south if it's not northeast or the northwest, then it's not really a big deal. if it's due south and it's significantly higher than the area you're considering, you're probably going to get pretty good shading throughout the year there is actually published data about expected sun hours in the different neighbors in san francisco, and actually for the whole state of california. there is also some tools that
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you can use that will directly measure the sunlight at any given time, i actually have one with me ride now. >> show me. >> this is a meter and on a clear sunny day, you can expect about 1,000 watts per meter squared. >> is that enough numbers for my alarm clock or is that enough numbers for my refrigerator, what exactly is the ratio of energy to my appliances? >> it depends on your usage. if a large commercial building like this, they have a lot of electricity usage and they need a lot of panels here. your house will use a lot less. how much less depends on your usage. >> what is the impact of tilt versus flat and are those things that i need to think about before investing in solar panels? >> absolutely. you're tilting them up to harvest more sun and have them perpendicular to the sun. as utility them up, you can't have them close together anymore. as you can see my hands are shading each other here. you have to start separating them so they don't wind up casting shadows on each other.
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if you're able to get less panels in a given area. >> i would love to take a look at one of these solar panels if you have something that we can look at. are they heavy? what's the deal with this? >> you're 150, 100 something pound person walking on your roof. >> 150? >> i'm 150 pounds. >> carl! >> most modern houses are designed to take the weight of a solar panel instaglation. >> i don't have to worry about panels falling in on me? >> hopefully not. >> hopefully not. >> if you have a good contractor, they'll do their due diligence. they'll do their homework. it's better for the industry if everyone does their homework and does the calculations to make sure the system is going to last 20 years, 30 years. >> that is another question. what is the lifetime of the system? do you have to have the solar panels replaced periodically? >> no, actually the solar panels last a really long time. there are solar panels in
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operation from the 1950's and the 1960's. the inverter is a piece of hardware that has a lifespan between 10 years. they usually warranty between five and 10 years. that may need replacement down the line. the solar panels will last a good long time. this is what we have intalked here at british motors. what we have, there is no moving parts here as we are talking about. you have a tempered glass cover covering the cells themselves and an aluminum frame. each one of these little blue frames is the solar cell. the way this makes its power, you have the individual cells are tied together with these silver lines here which is actually thed soer which the equivalent of wiring. it ties the cells to each other in series or in parallel which are basic terms of saying how they join together, how they're wired together. this one here is about 35 pounds. you're welcome to check it out if you want. it's glass in an aluminum frame. >> let me see.
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>> you can do it, nice and light. >> oh, yeah. >> not too bad. not too bad. >> all right. >> and a typical residential install is in this area about five or eight kyl watts which is 5 or 8,000 watts. >> that would use 15 to 20 of these. >> how are the modules themselves connected to each other? >> on the other side of this, this wiring here that ties the cells together all goes to a single point. >> can we take a look at that? >> sure. if we turn the module around, up in here, this is called a junction box. and this junction box is completely sealed and water tight and feeds a couple of leads, these are already wired and they have quick connectors so you can just plug the modules into one another. >> how many of these does british motor cars as part of their install? >> cut.
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we actually have about 1,500 panels here between the two buildings of british motors. cut. [laughter] >> wow. so, carl, i get that all of the modules get connected through these -- >> connectors. >> connectors. but once they're all connected what happens? i mean, where does it go? >> ok. it's great that we're out here at british motors because we can actually show you that. the fact that we have a carport and it's elevated, we can see the underside and see what the underside of the installation looks like. this is a huge consideration, you want it to look good especially on something this exposed. >> where are the junction boxes? >> if you come out to the outside here, you can see the junction boxes on the individual modules and the wiring coming out of them. you can see here that these two panels next to each other are connected to each other. that happens throughout the array here. the modules get connected to
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each other. once that happens, that creates the d.c. voltage that we want to send out to the inverter which turns it into a.c.. >> now i'm understanding, carl, based on what you talked about earlier. the fact that these modules are all connected means if their shadow cast on one module, there really is an impact across all of the modules. is that accurate? >> there is an impact anytime you have shading, it does affect the performance of the system. there is technology in place that recently that minimizes the effects of the shading. it's not like christmas tree lights where if you take out one bulb, the rest of it shuts down. there is protection in the modules themselves that allow the electricity to pass through it when it's shaded and the inverter is also getting some smart technology in them to be able to handle variances in the mod use due to shading. >> so it sounds like we need to take a look at this inverter, is that possible? >> sure, it's on the other side
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of the building on the roof. let's take a walk over there. >> let's do it. >> after you. >> so this is it. this is where the magic happens? >> yep, this is the inverter here for the british motors installation. a residential inverter might weigh 50 pounds and be about 12 inches by 20 inches. they'll usually hang on your wall. they can be outside your house. they are weather tight. they can be inside your house in the garage or someplace else that's accessible. >> what would the next step in the process be if i were interested in solar panels? >> well, i think a great first step would be to find a reputable solar consultant, a solar installation company and talk to them about your needs and your desires. they should be able to look at your historical energy usage over time. they'll look at your past electricity bills. they'll come out and look at your house and work with you and also discuss your budget with you and come to a reasonable conclusion on what you can afford. how much power you need to
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generate, how long the payback is going to be on your system, what financing options are available and hopefully get you a soler power system designed and installed. >> well, i think i am going to need to graduate from pete's class first. i'll see about the next step. >> sure. >> thank you so much for all of these very useful information. >> my pleasure. >> really. >> yes. [laughter] >> i say it's going to cost you $30,000 for a solar system or $20,000. most people get sticker shock and run away. they forget what they're paying now. let's think of what you're paying compared to what? so, what you have now is typically a bill from p.g. and e., a gas portion and an electric portion cleared marked. look at the electric portion.
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you'll get a usage area and a box at the end. it will break down like this. it says five rate tiers you call them. you get a baseline rate at a cheap amount. you get another 30% amount at a cheap rate. this is your baseline rates, these two. but when you use more, you pay more. and what it looks like graphically is, boy, there is a lot up here. so these rates are where your big expenses come. if you're in these rates, solar can make a lot of sense. they go up very dramatically, 222 cents, 32. let's say we have a case study. you have a $100 electric only. that's $1,200 a year. after 10 years, it's $12,000 if rates don't rise. let's assume that rates rise at the historical average which has been 6% over the past 30 years. so let's assume -- i think that might be conservative, let's assume that. so that means that after 10 years, you'll probably have paid out $16,000 and your bill
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by then will be $169, $170 amonth. you would be out that much money and you would have a higher bill and look forward to, hopefully not, but probably increasing rent payments for ever and ever paying it off. can solar beat that? that's where you want to start. if it can't, don't buy it. if it can plus all of the other benefits, it's a great deal. there is ways to reduce the cost and eliminate the sticker shock and one of these ways is the california solar initiative, that wonderful law that we started at the beginning of the year. the incentives are of two kinds. if you win the lottery, you can either take an upfront payment or you can take an ongoing payment for x number of years. the same thing applies here. you can take what's called an epbb which is one of the world's great ack named called expected performance-based buydown which is a mouthful for rebate.
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the payment is by watt of capacity. so that's what you're going to get right up front to knock down the cost. if it was $25,000 or $30,000, that's a lot, but you get something knocked off. a lot of time the installers, the people that you deal with, the one stop shop that does the whole thing for you will carry the rebate for you. not all, but most of them do. so you don't even have to finance that and wait a few months to get it back from the state. they incur that floating finance charge for you. it's a real nice service and it lowers the cost right up front. so there is another incentive, two ways of lowering the cost. one is that rebate payment that i talked about with the state. this is from the federal government, ok. this is tax incentives. you have to have tax liability. you have to pay taxes to make this thing valuable to you, but most people do. the law is written at 30% of the cost you can have a tax credit of 30%.